Articles Tagged with tax evasion

Turkish-journalist-sentenced-300x200After a lawsuit was filed against investigative journalist, Pelin Ünker, for her reporting on the Paradise Papers, an Istanbul court has found her guilty of defaming Turkey’s former Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim. For speaking against Yildirim and reporting on his confirmed offshore activities, Ünker has been sentenced to thirteen months in jail and a substantial fee. However, this unjust ruling is truly unique, as it appears to have involved several political motivations in an effort to send a message to other Turkish journalists and silence similar reports in the future.

The Paradise Papers

But, what exactly are the Paradise Papers? The Paradise Papers are essentially a vast collection of leaked documents including emails, deeds, loan agreements, financial statements, and additional documents that reveal how several politicians, celebrities, and entire corporations stored hidden profits in offshore tax havens. The documents were initially leaked to a German newspaper from offshore service providers. However, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) agreed to review the documents before publishing any written work on the released documents. This movement brought together the investigative journalists and media partners of six continents; Pelin Ünker was one of these journalists.

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According to a company filing, the Internal Revenue Service says that Caterpillar Inc. owes the United States Government back taxes and penalties in the amount of about $2.3 billion.  Caterpillar does not agree and says it will continue to vigorously oppose the IRS position. The tax liabilities stem from Caterpillar’s offshore tax strategy and has been steadily increasing while the IRS completes audits of the company’s income tax filings dating back to 2007,  some issues carrying back to 2005. The offshore tax which Caterpillar started in 2000 uses a comprehensive accounting of its structure which was first revealed by a Caterpillar tax specialist who became a whistleblower claiming that the company retaliated against him for insisting the tax strategy had problems. A U.S. Senate subcommittee investigation that labeled the tax maneuver an abusive corporate tax shelter.

The tax strategy involved the company’s  parts business and a Swiss subsidiary. Profits for the parts sales were recorded in Switzerland — and taxed at a lower negotiated rate than in the United States even though nearly all parts operations remained in the United States.  The Swiss subsidiary at the center of the tax strategy also featured prominently in a different investigation that dramatically unveiled itself for the public in the spring of 2017.

The case then went to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. In March of last year,  federal agents simultaneously raided Caterpillar’s global headquarters in Peoria and facilities in Morton and East Peoria to seize documents and information regarding parts sales, export controls and money transfers between the parent company and overseas subsidiaries, among other items — all with a particular focus on the Swiss subsidiary.

paradise papersThe Paradise Papers Offer a Glimpse of Ultra Rich Money Practices

Swirling around in the media and online is a leak of financial documents called The Paradise Papers. Within the terabits of information lies the documented offshore accounts of politicians, celebrities, multinational corporations and even royalty. There is something else buried in the data according to The Gateway—money laundering and tax evasion.

The Trail of Money